One summer my 9-year old daughter Joy and her friend developed a plan to earn some extra money. They dug up some of the rich soil in our back yard, added a little water to form a gooey clay and shaped it into dishes and bowls of various sizes. These they baked in my oven until dry and hard and then peddled the wares to our neighbors on the missionary compound in Taejon. Their homemade pottery was surprisingly durable. The coin dish I bought for my dresser lasted almost a decade before crumbling apart.
For missionary families overseas, fundraising becomes a normal part of life. Joy and her pilot husband are now on their way to Indonesia with Missionary Aviation Fellowship. They scrapped her pottery idea and, instead, raised support by speaking in churches and sending out letters to potential donors.
When my husband and I returned to the States after 24 years in Asia, I thought I was finished with fundraising for good. Ha! The joke was on me.
In my role as Senior Center director, I spend more time scrambling for money than almost anything else.
Nutritional support for seniors living on low, fixed incomes is a major focus of our center programming. Last year we served 9,296 hot meals. To make the food available to people who have trouble affording it, we absorb the financial burden of buying and preparation and end up losing about $1.26 on every $3 meal we serve. We are happy to meet that need for our senior adults, but costs add up.
In 2012 the center had a combined attendance of 6,164 people at all our events, which included computer, writing, flower-arranging and oil-painting classes, exercise groups, parties, dances, games, field trips, health fairs and screenings and more. Most of these programs were offered free of charge to our seniors. That’s what we’re here for, after all. Unfortunately, we can’t avoid the price tags embedded in these activities.